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Salary of a Housewife

March 20, 2012
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This post received more views than any other post I’ve written, from my previous blog and this one. . . so I thought I should repost here for your viewing.

[As a relatively new unemployed woman, I’ve been taking a very close look at my contribution to the home and husband as of late.  I’ve been out of work now for seven months, which has effected our finances (and my pride).  Years ago, it was common if not expected that a woman would leave the workforce upon marriage.  In fact, I believe there were state laws or company laws around that concept, though I’ll need to research to make sure.  . . . Note:  I wrote this early last year, before Will was born and before steady freelance work began.]

I was one of these women, up until last May.  So, it has been a challenging time learning how my home contributions are equal to bringing home the bacon– in a financial sense.  I have found some statistics to back up my thoughts and interest.

Even though these are in English pounds, I believe the equivalent would be a touch more with the current monetary exchange.  These findings from 2008 suggest that a housewife would bring in £36,000 a year, due to cooking, cleaning, laundry, tidying, childcare, taxi-ing, and maintaining family finances.  (I’d have to add in catering, gardening, sewing, and decorating, considering that all of these are also done by the homemaker and could be professionally hired out positions.)  You can look up the full article on the Free Library to see the break down of earnings.

According to a US Bureau of Labor statistics Employment and Earnings report (from wayback in 1995), the findings that have been compiled are quite a bit larger, so you can make your own assessment as to where you would fall in the income bracket.

This report suggests that a US housewife would be making over $120,000 a year for all her labor, which would include childcare worker, cook, driver, accountant, tutor, recreational planner, etc.  It says that professional cooks make an average of $238 a week, and professional drivers around $362 a week, with bookkeeping topping these stats at $389 a week (oh, and this is back in 1995).  You can see results from this report compiled here on the Smalley site.  Once again, I believe a few important career titles have been left out of the mix, so the salary would be boosted in my opinion.

It is an interesting thought that home making is belittled here and there in our culture when there is clearly both monetary value and personalization in taking care of the home.  I know a few wives going through the same “value” measuring place that I am, and I can say I’m standing behind my original post that being at home is an investment to our partners, the property and ourselves.  I’m still figuring it out myself, but I’m here for the long haul.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2012 11:47 pm

    What an interesting post. I work full-time at the moment but just love the more traditional female roles. At the moment I just feel too guilty not working as I want to contribute to my family financially. But I know when I am blessed enough to have children I will not work (unless some unforeseen emergency arises where I have to). I discuss these issues on my own blog really enjoy reading your perspective.

    • March 30, 2012 7:47 pm

      Pleasure to meet you; I’ll go look at your blog, too. Now that I have a son, I am a full time stay at home mom, but I’ve missed working, so I do a little here and there, too as a contractor. It is too bad, though, in general that our society “guilts” us when we don’t work.

  2. ellie permalink
    June 13, 2012 7:07 pm

    Talk, Talk, talk … I AM NOT COMPLAINING!!!!!! I make ALL purchases, do all cooking , care for flower beds (not grass cutting) Prepare taxes, pay bills. I actually have a great deal of power.
    WHAT AM I WORTH!?!?!? .. in your eyes.

    • June 30, 2012 9:13 am

      I’m not sure what you’re asking, Ellie. I think it is up to each person what they are worth. But, I thought it interesting that the salaries of all these combined jobs added up to what a home-maker/mother would be capable of making if she/he were actually bringing in coin.

  3. January 28, 2014 6:49 am

    Hi Karyn, i stumbled upon your blog and have enjoyed reading your story so much. Like you i have given up a good wage to look after my two young children. And also like you i love art. Your writings are an inspiration, thank you!

    • February 25, 2014 3:28 pm

      Thank you so much Nuala, for writing. Pleasure to meet you, all the best to you as a mom and artist!

  4. Cathy permalink
    May 18, 2014 2:11 am

    I was happy to find these stats as I have been feeling very unappreciated around the house lately. I work at home 3 days a week with 2 autistic children, then on to my duties which of course is EVERYTHING!! My husband works outside the home and when he comes home..he’s done! I wanted to know what the price would be to replace me, and he thought that was funny. I think it’s a bit cheaper than a divorce!!!

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